Foundation boosts Canada albacore international sales

Published on
June 30, 2014

Canadian albacore tuna sales are growing internationally, thanks in part to marketing efforts by the Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation (CHMSF) in Vancouver, B.C.

The CHMSF recently received a second year of funding in a total grant of USD 136,000 (EUR 99,472) for boosting recognition of the brand overseas. Thanks to the foundation, in conjunction with processors such as North Delta Seafoods and Albion Fisheries, tuna processors are realizing rising demand from buyers throughout Asia and Europe.

“We have been in communication with companies in Spain and Germany that are interested in the product for baby food and pet food, because we don’t have mercury issues like in California and other areas,” Lorne Clayton, executive director of CHMSF, told SeafoodSource. The British Columbia Ministry of Health has removed all warnings for B.C. albacore tuna and mercury after reviewing data on mercury levels.

In addition, Canadian albacore tuna is harvested individually, using barbless hooks, by the 200-plus B.C. tuna fleet.

While tariffs on tuna exports to Europe are currently “very high,” Clayton is optimistic that North American tariffs will be reduced within the next year.

The foundation and tuna processors have also been working with foodservice and retail buyers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. “The market is building in Hong Kong, where there is more of an international clientele,” Clayton said. “However, China wants red tuna — not white.”

“Our Government is committed to expanding trade markets, such as through the Asia-Pacific Gateway here in B.C., and we will continue to work with industry partners to promote Canadian business at home and abroad,” said Andrew Saxton, MP for North Vancouver and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance.

In Singapore, CHMSF has been working with a retail company to display Canadian seafood, including albacore tuna. Unfortunately, the product was displayed in Styrofoam containers with plastic wrap, which doesn’t bode well for oily tuna, so the foundation is utilizing a new retail display firm this year.

In addition, the government funding has been used to send albacore tuna processors to international seafood trade shows in Brussels, Hong Kong, China, and Boston. “This year, we will be able to send a couple of processors to a seafood show in Brazil and to Seafood Expo Southern Europe in Barcelona in September,” Clayton said.

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